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Marsilius of Padua's political thought continues to be the subject of much debate and scholarship. Recent work has called into question the tendency of much Marsilian scholarship to over-rely on Discourse I of Defensor pacis as the primary source of the Paduan's political principles at the expense of the longer Discourse II. In spite of this observation, most Marsilian scholarship continues to demonstrate a propensity toward ignoring the final and third Discourse of Defensor pacis. Scholarship has largely forgotten the third Discourse of Marsilius' main work, usually dismissing it as a mere conclusion of the entire tome or barely even considering it. Closer analysis suggests that the final Discourse is an important aspect of Marsilius' political thought and agenda, serving to illustrate and relate a number of the Paduan's political principles as well as demonstrating that Marsilius' works are theoretically consistent.
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Keywords: Marsilius of Padua; civil society; community; consent; defensor minor; defensor pacis; excommunication; furstenspiegel; medieval political thought; mirror for princes; plenitudo potestatis; political power; religious tolerance; tyranny; valentior pacis

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Dept. of Government, Regent University, 1000 Regent University Drive, RH 460, Virginia Beach, VA 23464, USA, Email:

Publication date: 2008-01-01

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